One thing Bitdefender certainly doesn’t like to do is share. When you run the installation file the wizard will howl in protest if you’ve any other antivirus programs installed. In a way this might be no bad thing, because it forces you to use an advanced cleanup tool like Revo or Advanced Uninstaller to ensure your system’s free of any remnants of antivirus or antimalware programs you might have installed along the way, but it does mean that you can’t be sure of a clean install until you’ve done that. There’s also no way in this version to install multiple versions of the program side by side.
Given the extra functionality of the package, it is the most expensive of all products targeting home users, and has $61.66 (45EUR) written on the price tag.
As all BitDefender security products now benefit from the same type of installer, Total Security 2012 downloads the necessary installation files and performs a system check at the same time. This is possible thanks to a light cloud scanner included in the installer.
In order to complete the installation procedure you need to close down Opera, Thunderbird and Mozilla Firefox.
The extra modules are the only things setting it apart from Internet Security version, so you won’t have to deal with a different interface. Also, you won’t benefit from better security since the exact same components are available in both products.
As with last year’s version of the software, you can tweak the installation in pretty much any way you care to think of, but this time it defaults to a standard ‘vanilla’ installation unless you specifically tell it not to. The whole process is quick, too, clocking in at about two minutes (even allowing for the brief interlude where you register your details) – a significant saving on the four minutes that the previous version required. During installation, the program conducts a quick sweep of your machine to check that you haven’t already got a virus issue – a nice, confidence-inspiring touch.
Another nice touch is that when we came to uninstall our test package (a painless process in itself), it offered to restart our default firewall and antivirus software for us on its way out. However, we noticed that we needed to give the machine another onceover with Revo to clear out a few loose ends the uninstaller left in the registry.
Design, organisation and use
Nobody could accuse the Bitdefender series of being unduly concerned with consistency. Just as last year’s edition showed off a new interface, the 2012 edition has also put on a new set of clothes. Thankfully, the best of last year’s innovations (the module-based approach which made it so easy to power through your processes) remains, but other than that, it looks like the whole interface has been rethought again.
The program has had a serious, dark paintjob, which looks appropriate for the task at hand, and the option to toggle between Intermediate and Advanced views has been binned, leaving the program looking less cluttered and more straightforward. That straightforwardness has also been carried through into the way the program keeps you abreast of what’s happening on your computer.
The top of the program window is dominated by a prominently-displayed status ring which changes colour to let you know if your system is happy and secure (in which case it will show a reassuring green), has problems which need your attention (yellow), or if there is a security problem which needs your immediate attention (surprise, surprise – red). It’s an improvement over its predecessor, which was fussy and unduly complicated, but we still find ourselves scratching our heads when the yellow light flashes – surely something either needs addressing or it doesn’t?
The program’s functions and options are organised under three headings (Events, Settings, and Auto Pilot), which run across the top bar, to the right of the status ring. Click on Events and you’ll be shown a comprehensive list of security events that have happened recently. If any of them require your input, they’ll be highlighted with a red notification pop-up.
The Settings panel allows you to change how the program behaves, and being organised around the same options displayed in the main view, it’s very ergonomically designed. The settings menu is organised logically and thematically, with each tab revealing its contents when clicked, and individual preferences can be easily configured. Using the on-screen slider to choose between Aggressive, Normal and Permissive virus scanning is simplicity itself. We talk about the Auto Pilot below, in features.
You can read our take on BitDefender Internet Security 2012 and its malware detection and removal capabilities on this page. Our tests showed a ratio of 95.1%, which is not shabby at all, as it is the second highest we recorded with the same sample database.
Most of the components included in the two suites require a bit more polishing in order to offer the user flexible management and ensure tight security on all fronts. We noticed the firewall was susceptible to more elaborate methods of penetration.
The anti-spam module won’t rid your inbox of all spam messages, but during our tests filtering managed to keep legitimate items in inbox and none of them got sent to the trash folder.
Parental controls are not as easy to maneuver as in other security suites; but the module manages to offer flexible configuration options for imposing restrictions of all sorts. You can blacklist websites or allow access only to some of them as well as cut off Internet access between specific time intervals.
Antivirus, firewall, anti-spam, Safego protection for social networking sites (Facebook and Twitter), prevent leakage of sensitive information, virtualized browser instances and web page scanning for malicious content make for the security feats of the suite.
The package combines great security tools with components designed to optimize your station in an elegant and easy-to-navigate interface.
The detection rate recorded during our tests was among the highest and sandboxing features can isolate any of the popular web browsers from the system, thus allowing secure browsing and online operations.
You get 2GB free of charge for your file synchronization needs and the transfers are operated with no delay. Safego utility keeps your online social life protected from malicious links.
When in AutoPilot mode, the bundle automatically takes the best decisions in your stead, at the same time offering the possibility to correct bad calls.
Optimization instruments are the weak spot in the bundle. They do not offer anything new or better than what you can already find on the market, except for ease of use.
BitDefender Total Security 2012 no longer gave us trouble running Opera or any of the popular browsers sandboxed. It is suitable for average and even beginner users, as most of the tools come with a wizard that guides your steps and AutoPilot mode takes decision making off your shoulders.
All in all, if you need synchronization options, file shredding and encryption bundled with great security instruments, BitDefender Total Security 2012 is a smart choice.